Yes I had some sites messed up with Google’s latest shake up. It’s not fun but we all have to deal with it when we put so much power in their hands. This is what Google had to say at http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html.
In the next few days, we’re launching an important algorithm change targeted at webspam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines. We’ve always targeted webspam in our rankings, and this algorithm represents another improvement in our efforts to reduce webspam and promote high quality content. While we can’t divulge specific signals because we don’t want to give people a way to game our search results and worsen the experience for users, our advice for webmasters is to focus on creating high quality sites that create a good user experience and employ white hat SEO methods instead of engaging in aggressive webspam tactics.
Hmmm…interesting. Because after this shake up there have been some funny results that people are finding. Unreleated wikipedia pages showing up for searches that don’t even contain the keyword. Check out this article from Johnathon Ledger.
I’m also seeing some really low quality results in Google. Here are some examples:
1. “Make Money Online”
Search Google for “make money online” and check out this site that’s currently ranking on page one:
It’s blank. 110,000 exact-match global searches a month for that phrase, and Google’s showing a blank blog on page one. Wow.
2. “New Shoes”
This page is ranking high on Google for “new shoes” (it’s bouncing between #1 and #3):
3. “Bicycle Wheels”
Search G for “bicycle wheels” and you’ll see:
#1 – ecommerce site
#2 – wikipedia entry for “bicycle wheel”
#3 – ecommerce site
#4 – ecommerce site
#5 – A book at Amazon (“The Bicycle Wheel”)
#6 – ecommerce site
#7 – ecommerce site for bicycle parts in general (the ranking page has nothing to do wih the wheels though)
#8 – ecommerce page selling bicycle wheel stands — not bicycle wheels
#9 – ecommerce site
#10 – page out of 1995 (literally) that has articles about bicycle wheels
Very poor results indeed.
Link Directories Still Working
For other queries that I follow, I’m seeing things holding steady with sites that use low quality directories to rank their sites. So apparently this update didn’t affect sites using links pages to rank.
Google Turned Up The “Related Terms” Dial
It also seems that Google went a little crazy with their latent semantic indexing (LSI) dial. They’re showing lots of results that simply do not belong on page one because they’re not directly related to the query.
Overall Affect: Old Sites With Less SEO Ranking Better
Lots of old sites are being resurrected into the search results, apparently because they have been less optimized. Google has been saying for a while that they would be going after over-optimized sites. That’s fine, but it’s sadly pushing a lot of really poor quality stuff into the search results, at least for the queries I’m following. Stuff that simply should not be in very highly competitive results is ranking well.
I mean, seriously, THIS page is ranking on page one for “bicycle wheels”?
Hopefully Google wakes up with this one and things shake out in the next couple of days. We will see on this one.
Have your sites been effected? What are your thoughts?